WWF announces $30,000 Grand Prize for 2011 International Smart Gear Design competition to reduce fisheries Bycatch

March 16th, 2011 by WWF

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is pleased to announce the launch of the 2011 International Smart Gear Competition to find innovative ways to reduce the amount of fisheries bycatch.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fondation Segré, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans are supporting the 2011 competition which will take place from March 1 to August 31, 2011 and is open to anyone from fisherman to backyard inventors and students.

The 2011 International Smart Gear Competition is offering a grand prize of $30,000 and two $10,000 runner-up prizes.

Additionally, in partnership with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the competition is offering a $7,500 special tuna prize that will be awarded to the idea that will reduce the amount of bycatch found in tuna fisheries. Tuna sustainability is the top WWF global fisheries conservation priority.

Since its launch in 2004, the Smart Gear competition has grown more competitive with the winning entries gaining traction with many fisheries around the world.

Flexi Grids, which won in 2006, are now mandatory in blue whiting fisheries in the Faroe Islands, and are used in an increasing number of countries all over the world.

A winning idea from 2007, a net designed to reduce the bycatch of cod, “The Eliminator” is now being used by more than a dozen fishermen in the northeastern U.S. haddock fishery, as well as being adopted by the EU as a mandatory measure in cod bycatch reduction under certain conditions. Vessels throughout the U.K are also using a modified version of the net.

The International Smart Gear Competition has demonstrated that conservation and industry can successfully work together to identify and eventually implement solutions to bycatch issues in different types of fisheries around the world.

The competition begins March 1, 2011 and ends on 31 August 2011.  The competition entry form can be downloaded from the WWF website.

Employees, agents, current contractors, and relatives of employees of WWF are ineligible. Judges and relatives of judges are also ineligible. The competition is void where prohibited. Odds depend on number of entries received. No purchase is necessary.


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